After four straight days of intensive training, my body desperately needed a break so I skipped Friday's open mat and went for an low key wrestling class on Saturday. Rolled with Dom afterwards and got it on camera, which I later watched a whole bunch of times to see where I'm going wrong. Looking at it, there are so many bad decisions going on and there are an equal number of things that I should be doing but am not thinking about in the moment. So it's good to reflect on my many incompetencies with a visual aid. Also, the 15 - 20 lbs I still need to lose? Yep, that really needs to go. Like, asap.
Monday was intense. Did a warmup roll with Thumper, who pulled some awesome sweeps on me, then paired up with him for takedowns. Later, we drilled by hand fighting round robin style. Went with Thumper first, then Curly, Lostboy and Schizo, who I didn't have much luck with but then again, he's been wrestling for a long time so it's understandable that he'd be good at, like...wrestling. Near the end of class, I switched to Lostboy for upside down D'arce chokes, which I did quite well with although he struggled a bit and did more neck cranking than anything else.
Class was followed by a great open mat. Rolled with Thumper for a few rounds and did better, then Lostboy and got a genuine submission - a rare occurrence for me - by way of stepover armbar, which is turning out to be one of my favorite moves, and then Jersey, which didn't go so well...darn blue belts. To wrap it up, I beat up The Kid a bit which in retrospect wasn't very nice. The poor guy spent 4 minutes stuck on the bottom and then bailed after I got an americana, even though we still had nearly 2 minutes left on the clock. Oops. Next time I'll try not to be such a dick.
Kickboxing was expectedly brutal...pure cardio work start to finish. KGB made it look annoyingly easy, of course. If the five billion and one pushups and situps fazed him, he damn sure didn't show it. I was right next to him, so it looked extra bad whenever I had to stop and recover. After class, I rolled with him for a while and although I basically spent 99.9% of the time trying to bridge and shrimp out of mount, side control and fuck knows what else (eventually got tapped out by RNC), the near-six-minute round was a marked improvement from the very first time we rolled two and a half months ago, where I got choked out in literally 10 seconds. Lasting for 6 minutes, even if most of it was spent flailing around on the bottom, means that I'm learning something (such as how to get to and hold half guard, even if I generally fail at doing anything else from there).
Phyiscal therapy ran over so I got to gi class half an hour late yesterday and tried to get my stretching done quickly while others paired up for warmups. I didn't get away with it for long though. Carlo finally noticed, asked what the fuck I was doing and said to find a friend and get to work. I partnered with Jacks, a blue belt who had also come late, to drill armbars from different positions (knee on belly, side control and from the back, all ending up in same place for the submission). It was fantastic stuff to learn, a great set of moves and I got them down pretty fast. Now, if only I could think clearly enough to use them in the moment instead of forgetting everything halfway through...
Rolled with Thumper for a long while after class. Trek watched us as he did his own exercises nearby, offering commentary here and there such as "Don't accept that, Reese! Take him out!" It was a really good round except for a brief moment where I ducked down at an awkward angle and got stabbed just between the eyelid and eyebrow with his toenail. I looked in the mirror later and realized how lucky I'd been. Another inch lower and I might've had a serious eye injury.
I attempted to take a break after that but Carlo called me over for the next round and damn, he's intense. I still remember being a wreck the first time I ever rolled with him, and now that I have a vague sense of what I'm doing, he pushes me even more. He was chuckling a lot this time, which is never a good sign. When Carlo does his maniacal chuckle, it means one of two things: either you're about to get royally fucked up or you're missing a great submission that's right in your face. He taught me the hitchhiker escape from armbar and had me practice it over and over from different sides. Really, there's no room to breathe with him; it's just one move after another and before you can even think about resetting, he throws out some other move and is like "What are you doing? LET'S GO!" I learn so much from him every time though; it's awesome.
Tried to take another break but Liz offered to teach me omoplatas, which was fun although good luck to me trying to remember all of those damn steps. Had a good round with C-Bear next and ended by going a few rounds with Trek. I'd drilled with him before but we'd never actually sparred, so I wasn't sure how I'd do. It ended up being a great round, though...one of those rare occasions where I actually felt like I knew what I was doing. A whole group was watching us and C-Bear and the others started cheering with shit like "Whoa, look at that!" and "Yeah, punish him, Reese!" Curly said afterwards that I was like a little wild animal all over him. Trek and I finished by going over kimuras and then I saw that Liz, Krypton and Carlo had some sort of boot camp in progress on the sidelines. I made the mistake of walking over and got peer pressured into joining them for a final set of painful abs work, although by the time Carlo demanded 100 pushups, I called it a night.
Kickboxing was mostly round robin sparring today. I'm still having trouble with blocking but am doing slightly better with punches and combos. Sadly, my momentum was interrupted at the start of gi class when I jacked up my upper arm/shoulder by falling on it hard during a sweep...twice in a row. The first time hurt but wasn't debilitating. The second time jarred the bone and sent lightning bolts of pain through my arm, leaving it tingling to the fingertips. I had already been putting a lot of strain on it between the kickboxing and pushups, so that was sort of the final straw and my body went into fuck you mode. Carlo came over to do his physical therapisty thing and determined that it was not, in fact, a life threatening injury. His advice was to just "ice the shit out of it for a week."
Since I didn't want to risk further strain, I sat out to ice the shoulder and tried to learn by observing the rest of the class. My arm eventually felt good enough to do some light stuff so I worked with Liz, who was also sitting out for the moment, wondering whether or not she'd just broken her thumb, and she helped me practice back escapes and then s-mount armbars, going at like .05 % so that neither of us fucked ourselves up further. Near the end of open mat, I was meandering around aimlessly when Krypton rolled over from a few feet away (literally just came tumbling head over heels) and went for inverted guard, so I ran with it. A little voice in back of head was saying Dont do it! Stay away from the big dudes or you'll mess up your shoulder even more! but I ignored the stupid little voice and am glad I did because it was a nice, fun roll and more importantly, I managed some really good stuff...like my first ever successful armbar from closed guard (as in, in the moment, not just drilling). I set up the armbar and in response, Krypton stood up to try to get out. Granted, he wasn't going too hard but still...I had to put in the effort to make it work, without time to think about it, and for once it actually did work. I also got my first ever sweep on him. Even in the past when he wasn't resisting at all, I was unable to sweep him because I didnt get the technique right. Tonight, something just clicked and I did. It was pretty damn thrilling.
I'm off to Charleston for the weekend, which means total inactivity for the next three days and that's probably a good thing. Even without the shoulder problems, I've been training extra hard lately and do need the rest. It'll be good to take a short break before starting again on Monday.